New York, U.S.A. — One child in every 45, 1.6 million American children go to sleep without a home of their own, according to the National Center on Family Homelessness. The numbers represent a grim 33% increase from 2007, severely impacted by the recession and record unemployment. Without a home of their own, the majority of these children sleep in their clothing at night because they don’t own a single pair of pajamas.
That’s where Pajama Program steps in. The non-profit, widely recognized as an advocate of children in need, has reached a significant milestone by providing an astounding 2 million new pajamas and books to children in need in New York and across the country. Thanks to major partners Carter’s and Scholastic, and thousands of local drives, Pajama Program hit this 2 million mark just over one year after the charity announced hitting its first million in early 2011.
Pajama Program’s Reading Center plays an important role in helping these children improve their reading skills, so essential to their education. More than 1,000 children now enjoy special one-on-one and group reading sessions with volunteers at Pajama Program’s current 700 sq foot Reading Center in mid-town Manhattan.
To serve an ever-growing waiting list, and accommodate over 3,000 children a year, Pajama Program will be opening a new Reading Center that will be nearly double the size, yet will maintain the same cozy, home-like environment of the previous brownstone location. The new center will include a “Children’s Gallery” supported by Carter’s with hundreds of photos, drawings, notes and cards from children served by the non-profit over the years.
The new Center will include a “Book Nook” that serves as a library and a resource for bedtime stories; a “Pajama Rama” area filled with colorful pajamas, and for the first time, a separate “Teen Scene” room designed specifically for children 10 and older. The new Pajama Program Reading Center will feature vibrant murals of pajamas and books created by local artists. The Grand Opening/Ribbon Cutting for the new Pajama Program Reading Center is set for April.